Life is hard! I know that isn’t a breaking news worthy statement. It is easy to get discouraged, even when we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic. However, as Christians we can have hope in the middle of trials. The writer of Hebrews has spent the last 10-11 chapters showing how Jesus is better than anything or anyone from the Old Testament. It’s not diminishing those in the Old Testament, it is rather showing all everything in the Old Testament was pointing us to Jesus. He returns to reminding us of Jesus’ example as a way to give us practical application for life in Hebrews 12:3, “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”
There are two key takeaways for me in this verse. The first is that we need to be faithful in our trials. Jesus warned the disciples and all of us that persecution should be expected as Christians. If we are living the life that God has called us to, we are going to live differently than the rest of the world. Because they are still unsaved, the Christian life will seem odd to the lost. One of the strongest witnesses to a watching, unsaved world is a Christian who continues to praise the Lord and have joy despite persecution. It is also an encouragement to be faithful to other Christians. They see us suffering well, and we tell them that it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit, and it can encourage them to rely on the Holy Spirit. The second takeaway is to be joyous in discipline. I know that statement seems very strange, and it is. Nevertheless, we are told to to be joyous in discipline, because it will do two things. First, it will show that we belong to God. The writer of Hebrews goes on in chapter 12 to say that if we sin and don’t feel conviction and discipline it is because we don’t belong to God. Second, it will strengthen our faith and make us more like Jesus. The phrase is “produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness.”
As difficult as persecution and discipline are, they are two vital ingredients to a strong, healthy, and growing faith. Therefore, don’t be discouraged when they happen. Instead, praise God for His faithfulness and His love for you. Then, commit yourself to God’s plan and purpose for your life, and watch what God does in you and through you.
By His grace and for His glory,